Gondar, Ethiopia

Ranked #3 in Ethiopia Tourism

Gondar is a historical city in Ethiopia. It is often known as the Camelot of Africa, as it is home to many royal castles. It stands at an elevation of 2,300 meters on a ridge from which streams flow to lake Tana.

Attractions in Gondar

Royal Enclosure, Gondar

Royal Enclosure, Gondar

Gondar was the capital of Ethiopia in the 17th and 18th centuries. The remains of palaces and castles built by many emperors can be found here, including Iyasu’s palace, Fasilides Castle and Mentewab’s castle. You need to pay around 50Birr to explore all the castles in the Royal Enclosure.

Dawit’s Hall is one of the noteworthy places in Gondar. It was once known as the house of song. Most parts of this building were collapsed. The interior of the building has a single long hall that features arched windows and doorways. A banqueting hall, a library, churches and stables can also be found inside the Royal Enclosure. Fasilides Bath is another important place to see here. It was once used by King Fasilides for taking bath. It is separate from Fasilides castle.

There were 44 churches in Gondar in the 18th century. Only a few of them survive now. However, the city is home to a beautifully decorated 18th century Ethiopian orthodox Church- Debre Berhan Sealassie. It remains as a place of worship till now. The ceiling of the church is embellished with intricately painted angels. You can also see various religious images on the walls of the church. Twelve towers representing twelve apostles guard the church. You need to pay 25 Birr to enter the church. However, some discounts are available for school students.

Iyasu's Palace, Gondar

Iyasu’s Palace, Gondar

You can visit Gorgora, a beautiful town located 70 km from Gondar. You can find some interesting relics here. The town is less crowded and is an excellent place for bird watching. Mini buses are available from Gondar to Gorgora. You can find numerous monasteries on the northern part of Lake Tana. The Church of Debre Sina is a must see place. It is a 17th century church that is embellished with biblical paintings on walls. Don’t forget to taste the roasted lamb stew on your visit to Gondar. You can also find a range of delectable foreign foods here.

How to get to Gondar

Gondar is served by a medium sized airport. You can get a bus from Addis Ababa to the city (Read more about Addis Ababa here). Buses are also available from Shire. The road between Shire and Gondar offers the most stunning views in the country.

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